You found an interesting profile during your online dating search/swipes/etc., so how do you start the conversation with them?
First off: Send a real message. Skip the smiles/winks/waves/whatever and actually write something! Sure, some dating sites/apps don’t let you write to someone right away, but once you can make it a great message!
Second: Write something of substance. This does not mean you write an essay, but it also means you write more than “hey.”
So, what type of opening line can you go with?
Ask a question
Asking a question is a great way to approach a first message to someone. When you ask a question, it makes it super easy for the person to respond to you. They don’t have to think about what to say, as you’ve basically done that for them. So, what type of question should you ask?
Types of questions to ask
To find a good opener, have a detailed look at the person’s profile. Look at all aspects of their profile and find something that interests you, such as:
- Activities you have in common (sports, travel, etc.)
- Tastes you have in common (music, movies, food, etc.)
- Lifestyle aspects you have in common (pets, etc.)
The above topic areas are likely ones you can sustain a decent conversation with. Selecting something you have in common allows for a higher quality conversation, as you have your own thoughts and ideas to contribute to the conversation. Also, you want something that keeps the conversation going – so something you both have in common, and thus can talk quite a bit about. Of course, you could choose something that they partake in that you do not (despite interest), but that lessens the chances of a quality conversation in most cases.
Where to get conversation starter ideas
You can get conversation starter ideas from anywhere in their profile. Don’t limit yourself to just looking at the checkbox selections (e.g. they selected Travel as an interest). In fact, the higher quality plays will be in other parts of their profile.
Look for icebreaker ideas in:
- Their short answer (freeform) responses. This is where they can break out of the checkbox selections and expand upon things they really want you to know. For example, instead of the checkbox for Travel they may have written about a place they’ve been recently.
- Their photos. Many people who love travel will have photos of them at various places around the world. Many people who love dogs will have a photo with their pet. Many people who love live sports will have a photo of them attending a game somewhere. Those settings are ideas that you can use!
- Their checkbox selections. As mentioned, this isn’t as strong as the above two suggestions, but if required it’s something to go on. Your questions will likely be less detailed as you have less to go on, but – if necessary – their checkbox selections can be leveraged.
For examples of such conversation starters, keep reading.
The more specific a question the better
Making your question specific instead of generic is a must. It not only is far more interesting (and makes you look more interesting!), but also motivates someone to respond to you. For example, asking “What was your favourite part about Costa Rica?” is far better than “Where have you traveled?”
Keep it relatively short
You want your opening line to be targeted and specific, but not super long. You want to make it easy for them to respond to you – especially with it being a first message. Choose one thing to focus on, and don’t make it overly long. Something that peaks their interest, but is also easy for them to respond to. You’re attempting to get this conversation started, so make it interesting and easy for the person you’re writing to!
Example conversation starters
Below are some example opening questions. Remember, don’t copy/paste these. You’re going to write your own based on the profile answers of the person you’re writing to (and your matching interests)!
- Profile photo has the Eiffel Tower in the background: “I see you were in Paris! What was your favourite part of your stay there?”
- Profile mentions playing soccer: “Have you been playing soccer this summer? Rec/beer league or competitive?”
- Profile mentions a band: “Have you seen [band name] live? What is your favourite song by them?”
- Profile mentions camping: “Are you a backcountry camper or car camper? What’s your top recommendation for places to camp?”
- Profile mentions board games: “Monopoly, Risk or The Game of Life – Which of these are you most likely to play?” (customize that for board games you play!)
You get the idea. Latch onto something in their profile that you have in common, and ask a detailed question that is easy for them to respond to!
Spelling and grammar counts
You’re not in school, but poor spelling and grammar instantly turns off many people. Get it right! If needed, paste your message into Google, Google Docs or Word to get a sanity check. This may sound crazy in the Tinder world, but for those on the more serious-relationship dating sites and apps, you’ll want to spend the 5 seconds to get this right.
Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!